Taxpayer-supported biofuels emit more carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than gasoline, according to a new study, challenging the benefits of mixing ethanol into the U.S. fuel supply.
“When it comes to the emissions that cause global warming, it turns out that biofuels are worse than gasoline,” Dr. John DeCicco of the University of Michigan and lead author of the study, said in a press release. “So the underpinnings of policies used to promote biofuels for reasons of climate have now been proven to be scientifically incorrect.”
Researchers analyzed real-world crop data from the Department of Agriculture on crop and biofuel production and compared the amount of CO2 generated relative to fossil fuel production and vehicle emissions. Researchers found that rising biofuel use has resulted in increasing CO2 emissions, even though the programs were justified by claiming ethanol would reduce CO2 emissions.
“Policymakers should reconsider their support for biofuels. This issue has been debated for many years,” DeCicco said. “What’s new here is that hard data, straight from America’s croplands, now confirm the worst fears about the harm that biofuels do to the planet.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was heavily criticized last week by a government watchdog for not updating the environmental impacts of ethanol. The watchdog found that the Obama administration failed to do a legally necessary study examining the impact of mandating ethanol in gasoline, and that Obama’s regulations actually did far more environmental harm than good.